Leslie A. Schiff, PhD

Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Leslie A. Schiff

Contact Info


Office Phone 612-625-8653

Fax 612-626-0623

Office Address:
Sr VP Academic Affairs/Provost
220D Morrill Hall
100 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Mailing Address:
Sr VP Academic Affairs/Provost
Room 234 MorH
100 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Harvard, 1990

Tufts University (Immunology), 1985

ScB, Brown (Biology), 1979


As Associate Dean for the Undergraduate Curriculum in the Office of Undergraduate Education, Leslie Schiff oversees activities of the Campus Curriculum Committee, the Council on Liberal Education, and the Campus Writing Board, and serves as a liaison to collegiate-level curriculum committees. In addition, she is a member of the OUE Executive Committee for Assessment and serves as an advisor on educational policy issues related to the curriculum.

Schiff earned her Sc.B in Biology from Brown University in 1979 and her Ph.D. in Immunology from Tufts University in 1986. She joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota in 1990 after a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School. A Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Leslie has served for many years as Director of Undergraduate Studies in Microbiology and as faculty liaison for the College of Biological Sciences Writing-Enriched Curriculum. She developed and teaches a two-semester support course for thesis writers in biology, as well as a writing-intensive course on the biology of viruses. Schiff has received University and national awards for her teaching, including the Carski Award from the American Society for Microbiology, and the Morse-Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award. Her disciplinary research focuses on the cell entry of mammalian reoviruses, which are being developed as therapeutic agents to treat human cancers.

Awards & Recognition

  • Committee on Institutional Cooperation Academic Leadership Fellow, 2007-2008
  • American Society for Microbiology: Carski Foundation Distinguished Teaching Award, 2004
  • Convocation Speaker, University of Minnesota, 2003
  • Morse-Alumni Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education, 2001-2002
  • University of Minnesota Center for Interdisciplinary Study of Writing Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Writing, 2000
  • University of Minnesota Presidents Distinguished Mentor Award, 2000 
  • National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1987-1989
  • National Institutes of Health Predoctoral Fellowship, 1979 


Research Summary/Interests

Virus-host interactions, viral entry, translational control in virus-infected cells, viral immune avoidance mechanisms


  • Schiff, L (2008). Structure and Functions of the Orthoreovirus sigma 3 Protein. In: Segmented Double-Stranded RNA viruses: Structure and Molecular Biology, Patton, ed. Calister Academic Press.
  • Goodman, A.G., Smith, J.A., Balachandran, S., Perwitawari, O., Proll, S.C., Thomas, M.J., Korth, M.J., Barber, G.N., Schiff, L.A. and Katze, M.G. (2007). The cellular protein P58IPK regulates influenza virus mRNA translation and replication through a PKR-mediated mechanism. J. Virol. 81(5): 2221-2230. (selected for inclusion in JVI Spotlight)
  • Alain, T., Kim, TSY, Lun XQ, Liacin A, Schiff LA, Senger DL, Forsyth PA (2007) Proteolytic Disassembly is a Critical Determinant for Reovirus Oncolysis. Mol Ther. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Smith JA, Schmechel SC, Raghavan A, Abelson M, Reilly C, Katze MG, Kaufmam RJ, Bohjanen PR and Schiff LA (2006) Reovirus induces and benefits from a cellular integrated stress response. J. Virol. Feb;80(4):2019-2033. Abstract JVI Spotlight
  • Schiff, L, Nibert, M.L. and Tyler, K. (2006) Reoviruses. In: Fields Virology. Knipe, Howley, eds. LWW, publishers.
  • Smith JA, Schmechel SC, Williams BR, Silverman RH, Schiff LA (2005) Involvement of the interferon-regulated antiviral proteins PKR and RNase L in reovirus-induced shutoff of cellular translation. J Virol. Feb;79(4):2240-50.Abstract
  • Golden JW, Schiff LA (2005). Neutrophil elastase, an acid-independent serine protease, facilitates reovirus uncoating and infection in U937 promonocyte cells.
    Virol J. May 31;2:48 Abstract
  • Nibert ML, Odegard AL, Agosto MA, Chandran K, Schiff LA (2005) Putative autocleavage of reovirus mu1 protein in concert with outer-capsid disassembly and activation for membrane permeabilization. J Mol Biol. 2005 Jan 21;345(3):461-74. Abstract
  • Golden JW, Bahe JA, Lucas WT, Nibert ML, and Schiff LA (2004) Cathepsin S. Supports Acid-independent Infection by Some Reoviruses. J Biol Chem. Mar 5;279(10):8547-5). Abstract
  • Golden JW, Linke J, Schmechel SC, Thoemke K and Schiff LA (2002) Addition of exogenous protease facilitates reovirus infection in many restrictive cells. J. Virol. 76(15):7430-7443. Abstract
  • Jane-Valbuena J, Breun LA, Schiff LA, and Nibert ML (2002) Sites and determinants of early cleavages in the proteolytic processing pathway of reovirus surface protein sigma 3. J. Viriol 76(10):5184-5197. Abstract
  • Olland AM, Jane-Valbuena J, Schiff LA, Nibert ML, and Harrison SC (2001) Structure of the reovirus outer capsid protein sigma 3 at 1.8 angstroms resolution. EMBO J. 20(5):1-11. Abstract
  • Schiff LA and Nibert ML (2001) Reoviruses and their replication In: Virology. D.M. Knipe, R. Lamb, P. Howley eds. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
  • Gillian AL, Schmechel SC, Livny J, Schiff LA, and Nibert ML (2000) Reovirus nonstructural protein sigmaNS binds in multiple copies to single-strand RNA molecules and exhibits ATP-independent duplex-unwinding activity. J. Virol. 74(13): 5939-5948. Abstract
  • Jane-Valbuena J, Nibert ML, Walker SB, Baker TS, Chen Y, Centonze VE and Schiff LA (1999) Reovirus virion-like particles obtained by recoating ISVPs with baculovirus-expressed sigma3 protein: an approach for analyzing sigma3 functions during virus entry. J. Virol. 73(4): 2963-2973. Abstract
  • Chandran K, Walker SB, Chen Y, Contreras CM, Schiff LA, Baker TS, and Nibert ML (1999) Infectious virion-like particles generated by recoating reovirus cores with baculovirus- expressed mu1 and sigma3 proteins. J. Virol. 73(5): 3941-3950. Abstract
  • Schiff LA(1998) Reovirus outer capsid proteins sigma3 and mu1: Interactions that influence viral entry, assembly and translational control. In:Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology. Vol. 233/ 1 pp. 167-183. K.L Tyler and M.B.A. Oldstone, eds. Springer Verlag.
  • Schmechel S, Anderson R, Chute M, Meurs E, Skinner P and Schiff L(1997) Preferential translation of reovirus mRNA by a sigma3-dependent mechanism. Virology, 232 (1): 62-73. Abstract
  • Shepard DA, Ehnstrom JG, Skinner PJ and Schiff L (1996) Mutations in the zinc-binding motif of the reovirus capsid protein sigma3 eliminate its ability to associate with capsid protein mu1. J. Virol. 70:2065-2068. Abstract
  • Nibert M, Schiff LA and Fields BN (1996) Reoviruses and their replication. In: Virology. B. Fields, D.M. Knipe, R.M. Chanock, M. Hirsch, J.L. Melnick, T. Monath, B. Roizman, eds. Raven Press, Inc.
  • Kedl R, Schmechel S, and Schiff L (1995) Comparative sequence analysis of the reovirus S4 gene from 13 serotype 1 and serotype 3 field isolates. J. Virol. 69: 552-559. Abstract
  • Shepard, D., Ehnstrom, J., and Schiff, L (1995) Association of reovirus outer capsid proteins sigma3 and mu1 renders sigma3 protease sensitive. J. Virol. 69: 8180-8184. Abstract
  • Nibert ML, Schiff LA, and Fields BN (1991) Mammalian reoviruses contain a myristoylated structural protein. J. Virol. 65:1960-1967. Abstract
  • Dermody TS, Schiff LA, Nibert M., Coombs KM, and Fields BN (1991) The S2 gene nucleotide sequences of prototype strains of the three reovirus serotypes:Characterization of reovirus core protein sigma2. J. Virol.65:5721-5731. Abstract
  • Schiff LA and Fields BN (1990). Reoviruses and their replication. In: Virology. B. Fields, D.M. Knipe, R.M. Chanock, M. Hirsch, J.L. Melnick, T. Monath, B. Roizman, eds. Raven Press, Inc.
  • Schiff LA, Nibert ML, Co, MS, Brown EG, and Fields BN(1988). Distinct binding sites for zinc and double-stranded RNA in the reovirus outer capsid protein sigma3. Mol. Cell. Biol. 8:273-283. Abstract
  • Schiff LA, Nibert ML, and Fields BN(1988). Characterization of a zinc blotting technique: Evidence that a retroviral gag protein binds zinc. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 85:4195-4199. Abstract